Music in May, 2020 Season
Friday, May 22, 2020
Brahms Clarinet Quintet: Ashley William Smith, Steven Moeckel, Rebecca Jackson, Daniel Stewart, Jonah Kim
Piazzolla Nightclub 1960: Rupert Boyd, Steven Moeckel
Vivaldi Concerto for Lute in D Major: Rupert Boyd, Steven Moeckel, Rebecca Jackson, Alexandra Leem, Laura Metcalf
Saturday, May 23, 2020
De Falla Siete Canciones Populares Espanolas: Rupert Boyd, Laura Metcalf
R. Clarke Prelude, Allegro, and Pastorale for viola and clarinet: Alexandra Leem, Ashley William Smith
Strauss Capriccio Sextet: Steven Moeckel, Rebecca Jackson, Daniel Stewart, Alexandra Leem, Laura Metcalf, Jonah Kim
Brahms Sextet No. 2 in G Major: Steven Moeckel, Rebecca Jackson, Daniel Stewart, Alexandra Leem, Laura Metcalf, Jonah Kim
- Rebecca Jackson, violin (David Arben Endowed Chair)
- Steven Moeckel, violin
- Laura Metcalf, cello
- Rupert Boyd, guitar
- Jonah Kim, cello
- Ashley William Smith, clarinet
- Daniel Stewart, viola
- Alexandra Leem, viola
Musicologist in Residence
Founder and Artistic Director of Music in May, Rebecca Jackson is a 2018 KSBW Jefferson Award honoree and acting member of San Francisco Ballet Orchestra. Music in May, an annual chamber music festival, has featured notable musicians Jennifer Koh, Cho-Liang Lin, Martin Beaver, Michael Tree, Ron Leonard, and Shmuel Ashkenasi. During her five seasons as acting member of Santa Fe Opera Orchestra, the company won 2019 Grammy for Best Opera Recording for (R)evolution of Steve Jobs. Believing strongly in the power of music to heal and unite, she has performed in many marginalized communities across the U.S., Ukraine, Romania, Dominican Republic, Haiti, India, Costa Rica, and recently into Said Gawash and Shatila refugee camps in Lebanon. Combining her passion for music and service, she is co-founder of Sound Impact. Recently released and now available on Amazon, her latest undertaking, in collaboration with her father, was completing the authorized biography of her mentor David Arben, imprisoned in many Nazi death camps and former associate concertmaster of the Philadelphia Orchestra. Ms. Jackson received her B.M. from The Juilliard School and a masters from UC Santa Cruz.
Violinist Steven Moeckel’s effortless virtuosity, vivid characterization and uncanny ability to capture the very essence of a work have been hailed by critics worldwide. As concerto soloist, recitalist and chamber musician, his ability to engage audiences in an astounding range of repertoire distinguishes him as one of the most versatile young musicians of today.
A seasoned performer since childhood, Moeckel began his career as a violinist in the United States, and then, from the age of eleven, toured as principal soprano soloist of the renowned Vienna Boys Choir. Resuming his violin studies, he graduated with honors from the Mozarteum in Salzburg at the age of nineteen and immediately assumed the position of Co-Concertmaster of Germany’s Ulm Philharmonic. Since his return to the United States, Moeckel has continued to combine a career as concertmaster with that of soloist and chamber artist.
He has performed with Leon Fleisher and Menachem Pressler at Chicago’s Ravinia Festival and frequently appears in concert with William Wolfram. He is a much sought after concerto soloist, his repertoire encompassing everything from the standard classical and romantic masterpieces to the visceral virtuosity of the Shostakovich Concerto and Corigliano’s Red Violin. Invited to China under the auspices of the newly formed Ling Tung Foundation, he was the first Western violinist to perform the beloved violin concerto, The Butterfly Lovers, with a Chinese orchestra. At home in a myriad of styles, with pianist Paula Fan he performed a 12 hour marathon charity concert featuring masterworks of the classical literature interspersed with intermezzi featuring country, tango and jazz.
Currently concertmaster of the Phoenix Symphony Orchestra, Steven Moeckel performs on a violin crafted c. 1840 by the celebrated French maker, Jean-Baptiste Vuillaume.
Cellist Laura Metcalf, noted for her “gorgeous cello legatos” (Washington Post) and her “brilliant” playing (Gramophone Magazine) is known for her compelling solo and chamber music performances worldwide and in her home of New York City. Her debut solo album, “First Day” was released in April 2016 on the Grammy-winning Sono Luminus label and debuted at #7 on the Billboard classical chart. The album has been praised as “a flat-out winner” (Greg Hettmansberger, Madison Magazine) and “rich and rewarding,” (an earful), and prompted multiple critics to hail her as a “major talent.” She is the cellist of acclaimed string quintet SYBARITE5 who won the 2011 CONCERT ARTISTS GUILD Victor Elmaleh Competition, and has performed sold-out concerts at the Library of Congress, Lincoln Center and many other venues worldwide. Sybarite5 made its Carnegie Hall debut at Zankel Hall in 2012, and their album “Disturb the Silence” recently reached the Top Ten on the Billboard Charts. The quintet gave the world premiere of Dan Visconti’s concerto for string quintet and orchestra with a consortium of American orchestras in 2015. The quintet has performed at the Ravinia, Caramoor, Chautauqua, Aspen and Grand Teton Music festivals. She has been featured as a soloist with the Zagreb Philharmonic, One World Symphony , Laredo Philharmonic, the Ensemble 212 Orchestra and the Orquesta Sinfonica Sinaloa, and has repeatedly been invited to perform with renowned international artists at the Newport Music Festival. She has given concerts in nearly all 50 states, as well as Australia, South Africa, Argentina, Haiti, France, Kazakhstan. Nepal, India, Germany, United Kingdom, Mexico, United Arab Emirates, Japan, Austria, and Canada.
In 2011 Laura was appointed to the cello-percussion quartet BREAK OF REALITY, with whom she has toured extensively worldwide, most recently being presented by the Eastman School of Music at the Eastman Theatre in Rochester, NY, the Austin Chamber Music Festival, the Victoria Bach Festival, and in Haiti and Kazakhstan by the US State Department. Their albums routinely sell in the tens of thousands worldwide, and they recently premiered an original concerto featuring the group as soloists with the Laredo Philharmonic. Laura performs regularly as a duo with renowned classical guitarist Rupert Boyd, with whom she has toured to Australia, India and Nepal. Laura was appointed to the Malek Jandali trio in 2015, a trio with piano, cello and oud dedicated to new music and humanitatian causes. The ensemble has performed twice in Carnegie Hall , has toured to the United Arab Emirates., and has been featured in National Geographic and BBC World News.
Outside of the classical realm, Laura has appeared on the David Letterman Show, Late Night with Conan O’Brien, the Today Show and The View with such artists as Adele, John Legend, Donna Summer, Clay Aiken, Chromeo and Dave Stewart of the Eurythmics. She has performed numerous times at the South by Southwest Rock Festival and the US Open Tennis Tournament, has performed at and recorded music for New York Fashion Week, and performed with DJ SPOOKY , and at the international conference of The Economist magazine hosted by Alec Baldwin. She appeares regularly with acclaimed Irish singer and composer Julie Feeney , both playing cello and singing backup vocals. She also appeared in Jonahhesburg, South Africa, as part of a chamber ensemble performing with rap legend Nas.
A devoted educator, Laura has given career-guidance presentations at the Eastman School of Music, the Hartt School of Music and Oklahoma State University. She served on the faculty of Opus 118 Harlem School of Music from 2006-2011, through which she also founded the first-ever cello program in New York’s Public School 129, and is currently a private cello teacher and chamber music coach for students of all ages as well as a faculty member of the New York Summer Music Festival. Laura is frequently engaged by the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center for outreach performance work in public schools in the New York area.
“Remember the name Rupert Boyd. While there may never be another classical guitarist like Segovia, this young Australian left his audience with the impression that someday there may not be the likes of him again, either.” – The Washington Post
New York-based Australian classical guitarist Rupert Boyd has been described by The Washington Post as “truly evocative”, by Gramophone as “a very fine musician”, and by Classical Guitar Magazine as “a player who deserves to be heard”. He has performed across four continents, from New York’s Carnegie Hall, to festivals in Europe, China, India, Nepal, the Philippines, New Zealand and Australia.
Active as both a soloist and chamber musician, Rupert Boyd regularly performs throughout the world as part of the Australian Guitar Duo with guitarist Jacob Cordover, and in Boyd Meets Girl, with cellist Laura Metcalf.
Rupert Boyd has five commercially released albums. His most recent solo CD, The Guitar (Sono Luminus), was called “a must-have album of 2019” by This Is Classical Guitar, and received the following praise in The Weekend Australian: “Instantly one’s ears are pricked up by Boyd’s interpretive directness and a sparkling technique.” www.rupertboyd.com
Grammy winning artist Jonah Kim made his solo debut with Wolfgang Sawallisch and the Philadelphia Orchestra in 2003. The same year, he also appeared with the National Symphony Orchestra where the Washington Post music critic Joseph McLellan called him simply, “the next Yo-Yo Ma.” Mr. Kim has soloed with the Atlantic Classical Orchestra, National Symphony Orchestra, New Philharmonia, Orquestra Sinfônica Nacional, Orchestra Filarmonica, the Philadelphia Orchestra, Symphony of the Americas and many others. He has played in prestigious venues such as New York City’s Carnegie Hall and Merkin Hall, Wigmore Hall in London, California’s Montalvo Arts Center, the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia, the Kravis Center in Palm Beach, the Adrienne Arsht Center in Miami, the Phillips Collection and the John F. Kennedy Center in DC where Anne Midgette of the Washington Post praised, “Kim flirted with the line, shaped it, wrapped it around his fingers, pulled it out in a new dimension, all with practiced ease.”
Highly sought after internationally as a chamber musician, Mr. Kim is a founding member of the “hip, unstuffy, and malleable group” Ensemble San Francisco. He frequents festivals like the Atlantic Music Festival, Bari International Music Festival, Cactus Pear Music Festival, Chamber Music Silicon Valley, Hong Kong Arts Festival, Music in May Santa Cruz, and San Luis Obispo’s Festival Mozaic. As a fellow at the Curtis Institute, he studied the piano trio literature extensively with his trio with prize winning violinist Chen Xi and piano sensation Yuja Wang. Since then, he has collaborated with world class artists on four continents, sharing the stage with Elmar Oliveira, Jon Nakamatsu, Martin Beaver, Bella Hristova, Ian Swensen, Scott Yoo and Chee-Yun Kim in recent seasons. In a review of his Debussy cello sonata with Ensemble San Francisco at Alliance Français’ French Festival 2015, San Francisco Classical Voice critic David Bratman exclaimed “this was an excellent performance, the best I’ve heard of this piece.”
A fixture at top studios such as Skywalker Sound and the Hit Factory, Mr. Kim has won two Grammy Awards. He records across a spectrum of genres and collaborates live in concert with artists like Andrea Bocelli, Mariah Carey, Cristian Castro, Vic Damone, Kenny Rogers and Kip Winger to name a few. Dedicated to sharing music in ways that positively impact and heal people in need, Mr. Kim is very active in community outreach. He volunteers at schools, hospitals, assisted living facilities, religious institutions and even juvenile detention centers, connecting not only through performance, but also in a more personable capacity in musical therapy sessions and spiritual gatherings. His teaching in masterclass settings have been described as “captivating and hilarious… relevant to not only musicians, resonating with all walks of life.” Mr. Kim is the youngest instructor at CelloSpeak, a cello retreat at Bryn Mawr College, where he has lectured and experimented with teaching methods for the last six years. He plays a Jean-Baptiste Vuillaume cello made in 1845 generously on loan, as well as a 2016 Haide Lin, a gold medal winning instrument at the Indianapolis Violin Society of America Competition. His bow was made in 1904 by Jules Fetique à Paris.
Ashley William Smith
Described as ‘incandescent… a masterly display of skill and insight… as an apologist for contemporary music-making, you would search hard to find this young clarinettist’s equal’ (The Age), clarinettist Ashley William Smith has emerged as one of Australia’s most exciting young musicians. Winner of the ‘other instruments’ category of the 2010 ABC Symphony International Young Performer Award, Ashley has been identified as a ‘rising star’ by the world’s leading clarinet manufacturer, and is a Buffet-Crampon Artist.
Born in Perth in 1984, Ashley has presented major public recitals throughout Australia and the east coast of the USA. He has appeared as a soloist with the Tasmanian and Queensland Symphony Orchestras, Orchestra Victoria and the Orchestra of the Australian National Academy of Music. Ashley’s dedication to the promotion of new music has seen him perform numerous Australian premieres, especially those of works by Jorg Widmann and Magnus Lindberg. His Melbourne premiere of the Lindberg Concerto was ranked amongst The Age Newspaper’s Top 5 Classical Performances 2010 and was described as ‘a stand-out occasion … for once a talented performer fully identified with the music he was playing; it was impossible to imagine a more committed, sympathetic interpretation’ (The Age). Other career highlights include performing the Lindberg Clarinet Quintet at the gala concert of the World Congress of Chamber Music Competitions.
Ashley has future performances scheduled in the USA and Europe with his duo partner, Australian pianist Aura Go. In 2013 Ashley appear with the Chamber Music Society of the Lincoln Centre, the Australian String Quartet and Melbourne’s Syzygy Ensemble.
Ashley graduated from the University of Western Australia with First Class Honours and prizes including the Lady Callaway Medal, the Edith Cowan Prize. In addition he was awarded the Sir Harold Bailey Award as the most outstanding graduate of the UWA Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences and was nominated for the J.A. Wood Prize, the University’s most prestigious honour. Ashley is also an alumnus of the Australian National Academy of Music and in 2010 was an Academy Fellow. In 2009 he won both the jury and audience prizes at the Academy’s Concerto Competition and in 2010 was awarded the inaugural Harold Mitchell Fellowship. He is currently pursuing post-graduate studies on full scholarship at Yale University and is mentored by David Shifrin. Ashley is one of Yale School of Music’s nominees for the prestigious Arthur Foote Prize. Most recently, Ashley was named the 2012 Music Council of Australia Freedman Fellow and will subsequently pursue an international recital tour and study program in 2013. He currently teaches clarinet at the Yale College and in several Australian tertiary institutions.
Daniel Stewart, Conductor, Composer, and Violist, is the Music Director of the Santa Cruz Symphony, and former Assistant Conductor with The Metropolitan Opera. Mr. Stewart’s first three seasons in Santa Cruz have led to great critical acclaim, including the Peninsula Reviews’ assertion that “the Santa Cruz Symphony Orchestra under Daniel Stewart has now developed into the finest musical ensemble South of San Francisco and North of Los Angeles.” Since 2012, when Mr. Stewart was invited by James Levine to become the first conductor of the Metropolitan Opera’s Lindemann Young Artist Development Program, he has conducted the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and soloists in a comprehensive range of repertoire. In 2013, he made his acclaimed Lincoln Center debut in a Metropolitan Opera produced concert of comic operas by Stravinsky, Mozart, Donizetti and Berlioz. The recipient of the 2010 Aspen Music Festival’s James Conlon Conducting Prize, Mr. Stewart has conducted orchestras including the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Hessischer Rundfunk Orchester, the Frankfurt Opern Orchestra, the Houston Symphony, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, the New World Symphony, and the Saint-Louis Symphony. He has previously served as Cover Conductor with the Atlanta Symphony, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, Philadelphia Orchestra, Opera Company of Philadelphia, and the Saint-Louis Symphony, assisting conductors including Thomas Adès, Charles Dutoit, James Levine, Kurt Masur, David Robertson, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Robert Spano, and Michael Tilson Thomas. Mr. Stewart has worked closely with contemporary composers such as the late Karlheinz Stockhausen, John Adams, and particularly Thomas Adès, whom he assisted in preparing the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s “Aspects of Adès” festival in 2011. An avid composer himself, Daniel Stewart’s compositions have been performed at venues including the Aspen Music Festival, Tribeca New Music Festival, and Verbier Festival. Mr. Stewart is a graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music, where he studied conducting with Otto-Werner Mueller, with additional studies with Sir Simon Rattle, Christoph Eschenbach, and Alan Gilbert. As a violist, Mr. Stewart has has concertized frequently as soloist, and served as principal violist of numerous ensembles, including the New World Symphony, the Schleswig-Holstein Festival Orchestra, and for six years with the Verbier Festival and Chamber Orchestras. He has also performed with the San Francisco Symphony, recorded for EMI with Maxim Vengerov, and toured extensively in over 40 countries.
Violist Alexandra Leem received her Bachelor of Music degree from the Eastman School of Music and Artist Diploma and Master of Music degree from Yale University. A recipient of the Yale School of Music scholarship, Ms. Leem studied extensively with the Tokyo Quartet during the Yale quartet-in-residency program.
Ms. Leem has held the position of Principal Viola for the Concerto Soloists, the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia since ’97, as well as Orchestra 2001. She was a member of the Opera Philadelphia, the Philly Pops, and a substitute for the Philadelphia Orchestra, performing in Carnegie, Saratoga Performing Arts Center, the Mann Music Center, and PSO tours until her move to California in 2010.
Ms. Leem is a former viola faculty at Temple University Pre-College and has taught at University of Pennsylvania & UC Davis.
A versatile musician, Ms. Leem has recorded extensively for The Studio, Philadelphia; the NFL studios, Mt. Laurel, NJ; and has performed for the Academy of Vocal Arts, Philadelphia; the Royal Ballet; Pennsylvania ballet; Network for New Music; Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival; and the Santa Fe Concert Association. Other notable appearances include the Heidelberg Festival, Germany; Internationales Orchesterinstitut Attergau, Austria; and the International Holland Music Session.
Currently, she is a member of the Santa Fe Opera in New Mexico, Principal Viola of the San Francisco Chamber Orchestra, and Principal Viola of the Sarasota Opera, Florida.
Kai Christiansen is a musicologist specializing in classical chamber music. Based in San Francisco, Mr. Christiansen writes and lectures throughout the Bay areas working regularly with such organizations as Music at Kohl Mansion, Monterey Bay Chamber Music, Music in May and the San Francisco Community Music Center as well as a number of international chamber music presenters. Leveraging a multi-decade career in software engineering and technical training, Mr. Christiansen is also the founder of earsense.org, an extensive online chamber music exploratorium featuring one of the world’s most comprehensive databases of chamber music literature spanning 500 years of history. While living in Santa Cruz for over a decade, Mr. Christiansen hosted a weekly radio show on KAZU in Pacific Grove, an educational exploration of Blues and Jazz. For relaxation, Kai plays cello and guitar for his cat.